Resilience Natural Disasters

Second powerful earthquake strikes Puerto Rico, killing one and triggering widespread blackout

puerto rico earthquake second january 6 7

Puerto Rico was struck by another powerful earthquake early Tuesday, this one a 6.4 magnitude quake, according to the U.S. National Geological Survey

The latest quake occurred at 4:24 a.m. local time. 

A 6.0 magnitude aftershock was reportedly felt a few hours later at 7:18 a.m. local time. 

According to local reports, damage has been recorded, including a collapsed church in the public plaza of Guayanilla. The church, called The Immaculate Conception Parrish, was a tourist attraction that turned to rubble amid the quake. 

At least one fatality has been reported as a result of Tuesday’s earthquake: A 77-year-old man from the city of Ponce died after a wall collapsed on him, reports say. The temblor caused extensive damage and triggered a widespread blackout.

Due to the destruction and reported fatality, Ponce Mayor Mayita Meléndez has declared a state of emergency in Ponce. 

The governor of Puerto Rico, Wanda Vasquez, told radio station Radioisla ordered government offices closed for the day. Vasquez also urged families to remain calm and to not investigate damages until daylight. 

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake on Monday resulted in some damage.

The island has felt several tremors beginning with a 4.7 magnitude earthquake on Dec. 28, which was followed by a magnitude 5 earthquake later that day. 

Since these initial tremors, Puerto Rico has felt more than 400 earthquakes with a magnitude of at least 2, 10 of which were magnitude 4 or greater, including the latest quake Tuesday morning. 

The last two earthquakes had higher magnitudes, of 5.8 and 6.4, respectively, than earlier ones, and they both took place offshore of southwest Puerto Rico. 

The White House released a statement saying that President Trump “has been briefed on the earthquakes that Puerto Rico has experienced over the past month, including the earthquake early this morning. Administration officials, including FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor, have been in touch with the Governor and her team today, and we will continue to monitor the effects and coordinate with Puerto Rico officials.”

This comes as Gov. Vásquez said during a press conference that Trump has yet to contact her government.

Currently, there is no official tsunami warning or advisory for the region. 


Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.